Flames golf team preps for spring season
The Liberty golf team will swing into its spring season Jan. 30 and 31 as it travels to Jacksonville, Florida, for the Sea Best Invitational.
The Flames enter this spring season with momentum after a strong fall outing where they finished third overall at the Ka’anapali Classic Collegiate last October in Hawaii, a performance that Head Coach Jeff Thomas felt was a testament to their growth.
“We had a good fall season,” Thomas said. “We continued to get better as the tournaments went on. As we enter the spring, we are excited to see where the upcoming tournaments lead. We definitely continue to improve as a team, and we are just excited (to) compete. Everyone has made good strides and continues to improve. We have a lot of talented players, and I’m excited to see what happens.”
The Flames had a dominant showing from freshman Josh Ryan in the Aloha State, as he matched the lowest individual score in a team event in program history with a score of 201.
“(Josh Ryan) is a good guy, and we are excited to have him here at Liberty, and he is excited to be here,” Thomas said. “Liberty is the place he wanted to be ever since he started high school, and it’s great to have a player who is passionate about Liberty and loves the Lord. He continues to work on his game and improve, and to see him continue to play well is exciting. We are excited to continue to watch his career over the next three and a half years.”
Senior Jonathan Yaun, an All-American, is the unquestionable leader on the team.
While many of the guys on the team have had some form of National Championship experience, Yaun has played in every National Championship he’s had available, something that Thomas sees as a valuable asset.
“When you have players that are used to going (to a National Championship) and playing well and succeeding, it’s good for the culture, it’s good for the environment,” Thomas said. “They know what to expect and know what it takes to get there. They get their games ready and push the guys around them to get their games ready. To have several of our guys having played in the National Championship last year makes a big difference.”
Liberty is one of 11 teams in the nation to make it to the last three National Championships. The team hopes to make it a fourth. Thomas believes that the team needs to be more consistent and to continue to improve to meet this goal, but he feels confident in his team’s ability.
As Liberty eyes another National Championship appearance, it will first head south to the Sea Best Invitational.
“It’s fun to start the year off when we haven’t played in a while. Going to the first tournament is fun, and it’s especially fun to go to Jacksonville,” Thomas said. “The team has always played well in Jacksonville. To be able to go to the Sea Best (Invitational) is exciting, and the guys are excited to get the season going. They’ve been working hard on their games over the break.”
Willard is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter